Free Buzzy

It was just a matter of time. This was sure to happen. All he really wanted was a pizza. He wanted a pizza pie so much that he walked to another country to get one.  Well, he really did not walk very far. The pizza shop was just up the street a short distance from his own business, the town pharmacy.  He and many others have been walking up and down this street without incident for generations. 

Stanstead and Derby Line just happen to be in two different countries. Stanstead is in Canada and Derby Line is in the US. That was never a problem — that is until Homeland Security arrived on the scene with Operation Stone Garden — a little known federal plan which uses local police to ‘watch’ citizens. Is that really a good idea?  

I admit that the guys in uniforms with the guns are faced with a bit of a conundrum — what to do when the international border is in the middle of a close-knit rural community. The local library is straddling the international border.  The locals get the books from the shelves in one country and check them out in the same building at the desk which happens to be on the other side of the international border.  The pizza shop is in Stanstead, Quebec. The hungry pharmacist was in Derby Line, Vermont.

Used to be that when Aunt Millie in Stanstead needed to borrow a cup of sugar she just walked down to her niece’s house in Derby Line.  But then came the restrictions — border guards, gates blocking the village streets. The quiet, little village was now under siege.

It has been reported that snow plow drivers were among the first to have problems. They could no longer turn their plows around. They were finally issued keys to unlock the gates so that they could drive through the barricades.

Now we have the interesting case of the hungry pharmacist, Roland ‘Buzz’ Roy. He lived 67 years as a law abiding citizen, but then on February 6, 2010 he walked across the border to the pizza shop. Yep, you guessed it.  He was frisked, handcuffed, and fined. Early reports said that he was fined $5000. That amount has now been reduced to $500. That’s a lot to pay for a pizza — even a pizza with ‘the works’,  loaded with all of the good stuff.

Local residents stand firmly in support of ‘Buzzy’ and a protest in his honor is planned for March 27. The ‘Free Buzzy’  movement is in full swing.

On March 20, 2003 there was a large protest of the war at the other end of the State of Vermont. One of the largest arrests in town history was made that day. The Bennington 12 were arrested for their peaceful protest of ‘Shock and Awe’.  That was a day to remember.  Shortly after the arrests, the town officers had second thoughts about the law in question. They, in their infinite wisdom, rewrote the law so that peaceful protesters in the future would not be exposed to the same complex legal process.  In the end, the government officials decided that there was a better way to use taxpayer funds. 

In Derby Line hopefully someone will step up to the plate so that common sense will prevail.  In the meantime — Free ‘Buzzy’, and  free pizza for everybody.  And watch out for that guy hiding behind the tree. He just might be part of Operation Stone Garden.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Read other articles by Rosemarie.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. lichen said on March 17th, 2010 at 1:41pm #

    That is sad; the sudden, sick enforcement of these arbitrary borders and the racist attitudes the policy stokes in many americans is a complete farce. Animals (including humans) moved freely across north america for millions of years before some petty nation with it’s slave trade agreements and ecocidal, paranoid war-mongering tendencies came along with it’s false claims of ownership over space. Dividing communities with walls (as also happened with israel’s ilegal wall that sometimes seperates people’s house from their farmland) is extremely wrong.

  2. rosemarie jackowski said on March 17th, 2010 at 2:12pm #

    Thanks lichen…When local police are paid by the feds to ‘watch’ citizens and neighbors – well it just reminds me of the Nazi tactic during WW2.

    Besides that, this is a horrific misuse of resources in a State that is sinking under homelessness, lack of health care, and empty shelves in soup kitchens.

  3. Terrible said on March 17th, 2010 at 4:18pm #

    As a Vermonter I’m all for banning the US Border Patrol from operating in our state.

  4. rosemarie jackowski said on March 18th, 2010 at 1:53pm #

    This is one more reason to think about Vermont secession.